Sacramento Branch Meeting - Post-Fire Effects on Streams and Groundwater Recharge

The Sacramento Branch is pleased to present:


Barry Hecht

Balance Hydrologics, Inc.

Post-Fire Effects on Streams and Groundwater Recharge




Just as engineering geologists and geotechs need to plan for brief periods of seismic rupture, watershed management and groundwater replenishment often call for fully understanding episodic events.  We consider ‘episodes’ to be channel- and recharge-altering events, such as floods, large wildfires, large landslides, earthquakes, and other events which occur at intervals of several decades or a few centuries.  These are events which need to be incorporated into long-term planning for communities, infrastructure and habitat areas.  Empirically, we find that processes different than those which occur most of the time dominate streams and recharge areas for variable periods following the event, and extending into the recovery period.


The fire-flood cycle usually has a characteristic set of processes which temporarily – and fundamentally -- change the shape, roughness, and habitat attributes of a channel.  Flood peaks increase, more and larger sediment is moved, water quality is altered, and channels accumulate sediment such that overbank flows (aka ‘flooding’) are much more frequent while effects of fires persist.  Pools and depressions in the floodplain are filled, often completely, but are often exhumed once the fire-related pulse of sediment is exhausted.  Large wood – now recognized as an important element in channel stability and habitat value – disproportionately enters the channel system during post-fire recovery periods.


Recharge is affected in many ways.   Flows are larger – sometimes much larger – during winter storms and summer baseflow.  Floodplains are flooded more often, leading to more floodplain recharge. These effects commonly last 3 to 6 years. Sediment enters reservoirs, reducing the operational storage and the ability of water purveyors to reduce recharge flows. Those effects can be very long term.  Does post-fire hydrology have a role in SGMA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs)?



Barry Hecht is a geomorphologist and hydrogeologist with nearly 50 years of experience, primarily with questions about site-specific hydrology questions.  Since 1988, he has been the senior principal at the firm of Balance Hydrologics, Inc., a leading science and design firm specializing in habitat restoration, channel stability, surface/groundwater interaction and recharge, bedrock hydrogeology, and hydrologic measurement and modeling.  Previously, he was chief hydrologist and geologist for Kleinfelder.  He began his career as the first County geologist for Santa Cruz County, taught at UC Santa Cruz, and then worked at the National Bedload Research Center in Pinedale, Wyoming.  He has measured hydrologic and sedimentologic effects of about 20 major wildland fires in California, and has assisted pre-fire hydrologic and geomorphic planning for about 10 communities, agencies and large landholdings.




All Proceeds to Benefit Science Students

The GRA Sacramento Branch has a history of supporting university-level science students. Our Scholastic Sponsorship Program is an opportunity to publicize your business while contributing toward a good cause. The cost is minimal; if interested, please contact Ellen Pyatt at (916) 852-9118 x 512 or



ECORP Consulting, Inc. was founded in 1987, and assists our public and private clients with a wide range of environmental services including technical expertise in planning, biological, cultural, and water resources and in regulatory compliance with CEQA, NEPA, Clean Water Act, federal and state Endangered Species Acts (ESA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and other laws and regulations.  ECORP has 115 employees in five offices throughout California, including Rocklin, Chico, Santa Ana, Redlands, and San Diego.

ECORP is experienced with comprehensive strategic water resources planning and analysis services covering a wide variety of water resource projects including reservoirs, water supply, hydropower, conjunctive use, irrigation, and operation simulation.  ECORP is skilled in all phases of planning and management of multidisciplinary projects, including water resource economics, natural resources, water rights analysis, regulatory compliance, permitting, litigation technical support, settlement negotiations, water accounting, and political, social, and administrative concerns relating to the use and conservation of water. We specialize in utilizing advanced technologies to understand water resources project operations, hydrology, hydraulics, and environmental factors, with interdisciplinary studies in economics, water law, and natural resource science to provide a “big picture” approach to water resources planning, analysis, and management

ECORP applies professional planning techniques and technical water resource system analytical methodologies, with special attention to economic concepts, to conduct in-depth analysis that cross many disciplines and present findings to clients and stakeholders in concise, effective presentations.  We are skilled at watershed modeling and developing tools necessary to communicate successfully with all ranges of stakeholders and provide information required to make successful decisions.

ECORP has established professional working relationships with federal and state regulatory agencies, based on technical excellence and a thorough understanding of regulatory processes. We are experienced with the California Fish and Game Code Section 1600; the regulatory requirements of the federal Clean Water Act Sections 401, 402, and 404; NEPA; NHPA Sections 106 and 110; federal ESA Sections 7 and 10; CEQA; and the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). We also have established working relationships with the resources agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).


Social Hour  5:30-6:30 p.m.
Announcements & Dinner 6:30-7:30 pm
Presentation 7:30-8:30 pm

Usual great food, including two meat entrées, salad, rice, potatoes, vegetable and Iced Tea. A No-host beer and wine bar will be available.


Members: $27.00
Non-Members: $32.00
Students: $10.00

  • If you register after Noon on Monday, June 12th, or walk-in, a $3.00 surcharge will be added to the meeting cost.
  • Cancellations must be made by Noon on Monday, June 12th.


Questions about the meeting, please telephone Rodney Fricke at 916-407-8539 or email him at  Questions about Sacramento Branch in general, including submittal of your ideas and/or desires for future presentations, please telephone Linda Bond at (530) 757-1500 or email her at


August 9th: Steven Springhorn, P.G. Senior Specialist with DWR, SGMA Technical Assistance: Building Capacity to Achieve Sustainability

September 13th: Deborah L. Hathaway, P.E., Vice President with S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Streamlining Stream Depletion Modeling for Analysis of Groundwater Management Actions

November 8th: Rick Cramer, P.G. with Burns & McDonnell, Groundwater Sequence Stratigraphy: Geology-Based Hydrogeologic Conceptual Models for Successful Groundwater Remediation and Groundwater Sustainability

December 13th: John Fio, Principal Hydrologist with HydroFocus, Inc., Technical Consensus and Multi-Party Sustainability Planning, Westside Groundwater Basin


Wed, June 14, 2017
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Event has ended


Aviators Restaurant
6151 Freeport Blvd
Sacramento, California 95822

Aviator's Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport
6151 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA
Aviator's Restaurant is located within the aircraft Terminal Building.
Plenty of free parking.